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Watkins: A sloppy spectacle defines the U.S.’s night against Chile

The United States Women’s national team firmly handled the Chilean Women’s national team late on Friday night, handing them a 3-0 defeat that could have far exceeded the final score-line. The match was sloppy from both sides, but the U.S.’s ultimate talent overload was too much for Chile to handle for much of the match. Here are some things I noticed from Friday night’s game.
The United States Women’s national team firmly handled the Chilean Women’s national team late on Friday night, handing them a 3-0 defeat that could have far exceeded the final score-line. The match was sloppy from both sides, but the U.S.’s ultimate talent overload was too much for Chile to handle for much of the match. Here are some things I noticed from Friday night’s game.

The U.S. is running with a pivot defense

Before the game even began, U.S. head coach Jill Ellis followed a similar format regarding the construction of her defense to one that we’ve seen in games past. More specifically, she started Crystal Dunn as her left back with Emily Sonnett on the right, and Tierna Davidson and Becky Sauerbrunn in the center. While that lineup looks like a compromise in getting the most talent on the field, it also works into an idea that Ellis is interested in utilizing a pivoting option to the U.S. defense.

The skill sets that Ellis seems to favor in her outside backs supports the strategy of pushing one side of the defense forward, with the opposite side’s counterpart staying home to function within more of a three-back structure along with the center-backs. In Friday night’s iteration, Dunn functioned as the attacking player in a lop-sided formation, with Sonnett backing her up defensively. With all available players healthy, one could easily imagine an opposite scenario, with Casey Short holding the left side of the field down so Kelley O’Hara can roam forward as an attacking presence, depending on the scouting report of whatever team the U.S. is facing.


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